Please make sure to read the fine print on the above referenced photo. Thank you.
Chivalry (noun): the sum of the ideal qualifications of a knight, including courtesy, generosity, valor, and dexterity in arms.
Chivalry is dead and it deserved to die. Okay, it’s a bit of a yellow journalism title and common sense tells you that it’s also too much of a blanket statement to be valid, but it’s the sentiment that counts. Men and women are both to blame for what occasionally appears to be a misogynistic culmination, yet I still overhear the yearning for spurious Lifetime movie romances or the desire for old fashioned 1930s, one-lover-only, till death due us part relationships. Yes, because all marriages for women before the feminist movements in America were jubilant.
Two reasons why chivalry is dead: 1) It’s an outdated term in which people derive their own customized definition, and 2) the advancement of cultural and social values
What do I mean by reason #1? For starters, the origin of this word comes from the Medieval Latin word caballarius, meaning “horseman” or “knight.” I don’t have to remind you that knights don’t exist anymore, with the exception of random celebrities and political figures (e.g. Sir Bono, Sir Ronald Reagan, Sir Elton John, etc.). Also, “dexterity in arms”? I don’t own a sword, do you? This term has been revisited, updated, and categorized as a meaningful, realistic, not to mention expected, characteristic of “good” men. But what makes a “good” man? Doesn’t this question completely depend on whomever wishes to answer it? What makes a man beautiful? Just as one may say “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” one may claim the same concept applies to what makes a man good. Ah, but there are exemplary actions of a chivalrous man; opening a door, lending a jacket, paying for a meal, pulling out, etc. However, I highly doubt anyone would submit petty actions such as these, although meaningful in their own way, to be key criteria for moral behavior around women. Just because a man holds a door open for you does not mean he will treat you like a princess and never make you cry.
I briefly mentioned reason #2 at the end of my third paragraph. During the course of the 20th century, women went from needing a reliable and lucrative breadwinner to voting, earning degrees, having successful careers, and living fulfilling lives before the grounded responsibilities that come from bearing children. With good reason, doors were being opened up for women everywhere with and without the help of chivalrous characters. The simple-minded, honest, hard-working breadwinner didn’t have the same ring to it anymore. What about vigor, image, and personality? These progressive attributes excite anyone looking for adventure and always will. There’s more and more single people in their 30s now and it’s not frowned upon as much as it used to be. Stir in online dating sites and all of a sudden women have more choices than ever when it comes to dating. The time for subtle first impressions from nice guys are over. Compatibility holds more weight than chivalry. Act accordingly. Hopeless romantics that shower you with letters and kisses, opens all the doors, gives you their jackets, and hands you their umbrella in the rain tend to be oversensitive pushovers with a target on their back. Understand that one must not be a hopeless anything or believe in anything unconditionally. Once you do, you relinquish your critical thinking faculties. Be a great person but know the boundaries and act reasonably.
The takeaway: Don’t hold petty chivalrous behavior on a pedestal. Get to know someone. Assess for yourself whether or not someone has a good heart. They don’t always have to go out of their way to do well but they should always mean you well. Benevolence keeps love alive. The new wave of chivalry should read as follows: Women are lovely and amazing, so don’t be a dick.
– Single Guy in NYC